Vampires don’t just live in books and movies - they live in your home, too, sucking energy from your electronic devices and causing your electric bill to be higher than it needs to be.
According to the Energy Information Institute, the average U.S. household spends about $2,000 a year on electricity, and about 10 percent of that, or $200, is spent paying for electricity you’re not even using.
The Institute estimates that you could be paying even more if you have lots of energy vampires in your home, such as desktop computers, laptops, televisions, stereos and other home electronics that have a standby mode used to keep the devices “sleeping,” but not completely off, so that they power up quickly.
However, in order to start saving energy and lowering your electricity costs, you have to first find the source of the energy vampires, and then you have to slay them.
How to Find Energy Vampires
If your home were a neck, there would be four main places for energy vampires to feed: device chargers, AC adapters, devices with clocks and remote controls, and devices that have a standby mode.
- Device Chargers: If a charger is warm to the touch or has a light on when you’re not using it to charge your iPod, laptop or cell phone, then it’s sucking electricity.
- AC Adapters: If the big, brick-like boxes on your stereo or other electronic devices are warm, they’re using electricity.
- Devices with Clocks and Remote Controls: Things like cable boxes, DVD players, microwaves, and coffee makers use electricity to keep their clocks going, even when you’re not using them. Same goes for devices that use remote controls, like TVs, which wait patiently to receive a signal from the remote.
- Standby: Computers and other devices use almost the same amount of energy when they’re in standby mode compared to when they’re fully on.
Four Easy Ways to Slay Energy Vampires
There are four easy ways to get rid of the energy vampires in your home and start saving energy and lowering electricity costs right away:
1. Disconnect the chargers on your portable devices when you’re done charging them.
2. Turn off TVs, printers, and computers when you’re not using them.
3. Use power strips for places in your home that have lots of cords, like entertainment centers. Then you’ll be able to turn off one switch to shut down all the attached devices at night, when you leave home or when you go out of town.
4. Use timers plugged into power strips to automatically shut devices down and start them up again when you want to, kind of like how programmable thermostats are set up to heat and cool homes only when people are there.
ENERGY STAR website, “Standby Power and Energy Vampires.”
LearnVest website, “Save Energy And Save Money By Slaying The Energy Vampires In Your Home.”